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Title 7Subtitle BChapter XVIIPart 1780 → Subpart A


Title 7: Agriculture
PART 1780—WATER AND WASTE LOANS AND GRANTS


Subpart A—General Policies and Requirements


Contents
§1780.1   General.
§1780.2   Purpose.
§1780.3   Definitions and grammatical rules of construction.
§1780.4   Availability of forms and regulations.
§1780.5   [Reserved]
§1780.6   Application information.
§1780.7   Eligibility.
§1780.8   [Reserved]
§1780.9   Eligible loan and grant purposes.
§1780.10   Limitations.
§1780.11   Service area requirements.
§1780.12   [Reserved]
§1780.13   Rates and terms.
§1780.14   Security.
§1780.15   Other Federal, State, and local requirements.
§1780.16   [Reserved]
§1780.17   Selection priorities and process.
§1780.18   Allocation of program funds.
§1780.19   Public information.
§§1780.20-1780.23   [Reserved]
§1780.24   Approval authorities.
§1780.25   Exception authority.
§§1780.26-1780.30   [Reserved]

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§1780.1   General.

(a) This part outlines the policies and procedures for making and processing direct loans and grants for water and waste projects. The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) shall cooperate fully with State and local agencies in making loans and grants to assure maximum support to the State strategy for rural development. Agency officials and their staffs shall maintain coordination and liaison with State agency and substate planning districts.

(b) The income data used in this part to determine median household income must be that which most accurately reflects the income of the service area. The median household income of the service area and the nonmetropolitan median household income of the State will be determined from income data from 5-year income data from the American Community Survey (ACS) or, if needed, other Census Bureau data. If there is reason to believe that the ACS or other Census Bureau data does not accurately represent the median household income within the area to be served, the reasons will be documented and the applicant may furnish, or RD may obtain, additional information regarding such median household income data. Information must consist of reliable data from local, regional, State or Federal sources or from a survey conducted by a reliable impartial source. The nonmetropolitan median household income of the State may only be updated on a national basis by the RUS National Office. This will be done only when median household income data for the same year for all Bureau of the Census areas is available from the Bureau of the Census or other reliable sources. Bureau of the Census areas would include areas such as: Counties, County Subdivisions, Cities, Towns, Townships, Boroughs, and other places.

(c) RUS debt instruments will require an agreement that if at any time it shall appear to the Government that the borrower is able to refinance the amount of the indebtedness to the Government then outstanding, in whole or in part, by obtaining a loan for such purposes from responsible cooperative or private credit sources, at reasonable rates and terms for loans for similar purposes and periods of time, the borrower will, upon request of the Government, apply for and accept such loan in sufficient amount to repay the Government and will take all such actions as may be required in connection with such loan.

(d) Funds allocated for use under this part are also for the use of Indian tribes within the State, regardless of whether State development strategies include Indian reservations within the State's boundaries. Native Americans residing on such reservations must have equal opportunity to participate in the benefits of these programs as compared with other residents of the State. Such tribes might not be subject to State and local laws or jurisdiction. However, any requirements of this part that affect applicant eligibility, the adequacy of RUS's security, or the adequacy of service to users of the facility and all other requirements of this part must be met.

(e) RUS financial programs must be extended without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, age, or physical or mental handicap.

(f) Any processing or servicing activity conducted pursuant to this part involving authorized assistance to Agency employees, members of their families, known close relatives, or business or close personal associates, is subject to the provisions of subpart D of part 1900 of this title. Applicants for assistance are required to identify any known relationship or association with a RUS employee.

(g) Water and waste facilities will be designed, installed, and operated in accordance with applicable laws which include but are not limited to the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

(h) RUS financed facilities will be consistent with any current development plans of State, multijurisdictional areas, counties, or municipalities in which the proposed project is located.

(i) Each RUS financed facility will be in compliance with appropriate State or Federal agency regulations which have control of the appropriation, diversion, storage and use of water and disposal of excess water.

(j) Water and waste applicants must demonstrate that they possess the financial, technical, and managerial capability necessary to consistently comply with pertinent Federal and State laws and requirements. In developing water and waste systems, applicants must consider alternatives of ownership, system design, and the sharing of services.

(k) Applicants should be aware of and comply with other Federal statute requirements including but not limited to:

(1) Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 794 et seq.), no handicapped individual in the United States shall, solely by reason of their handicap, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving RUS financial assistance;

(2) Civil Rights Act of 1964. All borrowers are subject to, and facilities must be operated in accordance with, title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. 2000d et seq.) and subpart E of part 1901 of this title, particularly as it relates to conducting and reporting of compliance reviews. Instruments of conveyance for loans and/or grants subject to the Act must contain the covenant required by §1901.202(e) of this title;

(3) The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. This Act (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, State and local government services, public transportation, public accommodations, facilities, and telecommunications. Title II of the Act applies to facilities operated by State and local public entities which provides services, programs and activities. Title III of the Act applies to facilities owned, leased, or operated by private entities which accommodate the public; and

(4) Age Discrimination Act of 1975. This Act (42 U.S.C. 6101 et seq.) provides that no person in the United States shall on the basis of age, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

(l) Applicants for grant assistance will be required to comply with the following requirements as applicable:

(1) 2 CFR part 200, as adopted by USDA through 2 CFR part 400, ” Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards”.

(2) 2 CFR part 415—General Program Administrative Regulations.

(3) 2 CFR part 421-Requirements for Drug-Free Workplace (Financial Assistance).

(m) Applicants for loan or grant assistance will be required to comply with the following requirements as applicable:

(1) 2 CFR part 200, subpart F, “Audit Requirements.”

(2) 2 CFR part 180, as adopted by USDA through 2 CFR part 417, Nonprocurement Debarment and Suspension, implementation of Executive Order 12549 and Executive Order 12689 on debarment and suspension.

(3) 2 CFR part 418, New Restrictions on Lobbying.

[62 FR 33478, June 19, 1997, as amended at 79 FR 76006, Dec. 19, 2014; 80 FR 9863, Feb. 24, 2015; 81 FR 7697, Feb. 16, 2016]

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§1780.2   Purpose.

Provide loan and grant funds for water and waste projects serving the most financially needy communities. Financial assistance should result in reasonable user costs for rural residents, rural businesses, and other rural users.

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§1780.3   Definitions and grammatical rules of construction.

(a) Definitions. For the purposes of this part:

Agency means the Rural Utilities Service and any United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) employee acting on behalf of the Rural Utilities Service in accordance with appropriate delegations of authority.

Agency identified target areas means an identified area in the State strategic plan or other plans developed by the Rural Development State Director.

Approval official means the USDA official at the State level who has been delegated the authority to approve loans or grants.

Equivalent Dwelling Unit (EDU) means the level of service provided to a typical rural residential dwelling.

Parity bonds means bonds which have equal standing with other bonds of the same Issuer.

Poverty line means the level of income for a family of four, as defined in section 673(2) of the Community Services Block Grant Act (42 U.S.C. 9902(2)).

Processing office means the office designated by the State program official to accept and process applications for water and waste disposal assistance.

Project means all activity that an applicant is currently undertaking to be financed in whole or part with RUS assistance.

Protective advances are payments made by a lender for items such as insurance or taxes in order to preserve and protect the security or the lien or priority of the lien securing the loan.

Rural and rural areas means any area not in a city or town with a population in excess of 10,000 inhabitants. The population figure is obtained from the most recent decennial Census of the United States (decennial Census). If the applicable population figure cannot be obtained from the most recent decennial Census, RD will determine the applicable population figure based on available population data.

Rural Development means the mission area of the Under Secretary for Rural Development. Rural Development State and local offices will administer this water and waste program on behalf of the Rural Utilities Service.

RUS means the Rural Utilities Service, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture established pursuant to section 232 of the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 (Pub. L. 103-354, 108 Stat. 3178), successor to the Farmer's Home Administration and the Rural Development Administration with respect to certain water and waste disposal loan and grant programs.

Service area means the area reasonably expected to be served by the project.

Servicing office means the office designated by the State program official to service water and waste disposal loans and grants.

Similar system cost means the average annual EDU user cost of a system within a community having similar economic conditions and being served by the same type of established system. Similar system cost shall include all charges, taxes, and assessments attributable to the system including debt service, reserves and operation and maintenance costs.

Simplified acquisition threshold means the dollar amount below which an applicant or owner may purchase property or services using small purchase methods as defined further at 2 CFR 200.1.

State program official means the USDA official at the State level who has been delegated the responsibility of administering the water and waste disposal programs under this regulation for a particular State or States.

Statewide nonmetropolitan median household income means the median household income of the State's nonmetropolitan counties and portions of metropolitan counties outside of cities, towns or places of 50,000 or more population.

(b) Rules of grammatical construction. Unless the context otherwise indicates, “includes” and “including” are not limiting, and “or” is not exclusive. The terms defined in paragraph (a) of this section include the plural as well as the singular, and the singular as well as the plural.

[62 FR 33478, June 19, 1997, as amended at 69 FR 65519, Nov. 15, 2004; 80 FR 9863, Feb. 24, 2015; 81 FR 7697, Feb. 16, 2016; 85 FR 72913, Nov. 16, 2020]

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§1780.4   Availability of forms and regulations.

Information about the availability of forms, instructions, regulations, bulletins, OMB Circulars, Treasury Circulars, standards, documents and publications cited in this part is available from any USDA/Rural Development office or the Rural Utilities Service, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC 20250-1500.

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§1780.5   [Reserved]

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§1780.6   Application information.

(a) The Rural Development State Director in each State will determine the office and staff that will be responsible for delivery of the program (processing office) and designate an approving office. Applications will be accepted by the processing office.

(b) The applicant's governing body should designate one person to act as contact person with the Agency during loan and grant processing. Agency personnel should make every effort to involve the applicant's contact person when meeting with the applicant's professional consultants or agents.

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§1780.7   Eligibility.

Facilities financed by water and waste disposal loans or grants must serve rural areas.

(a) Eligible applicant. An applicant must be:

(1) A public body, such as a municipality, county, district, authority, or other political subdivision of a state, territory or commonwealth;

(2) An organization operated on a not-for-profit basis, such as an association, cooperative, or private corporation. The organization must be an association controlled by a local public body or bodies, or have a broadly based ownership by or membership of people of the local community; or

(3) Indian tribes on Federal and State reservations and other Federally recognized Indian tribes.

(b) Eligible facilities. Facilities financed by RUS may be located in non-rural areas. However, loan and grant funds may be used to finance only that portion of the facility serving rural areas, regardless of facility location.

(c) Eligible projects. (1) Projects must serve a rural area which, if such project is completed, is not likely to decline in population below that for which the project was designed.

(2) Projects must be designed and constructed so that adequate capacity will or can be made available to serve the present population of the area to the extent feasible and to serve the reasonably foreseeable growth needs of the area to the extent practicable.

(3) Projects must be necessary for orderly community development and consistent with a current comprehensive community water, waste disposal, or other current development plan for the rural area.

(d) Credit elsewhere. Applicants must certify in writing and the Agency shall determine and document that the applicant is unable to finance the proposed project from their own resources or through commercial credit at reasonable rates and terms.

(e) Legal authority and responsibility. Each applicant must have or will obtain the legal authority necessary for owning, constructing, operating, and maintaining the proposed facility or service and for obtaining, giving security for, and repaying the proposed loan. The applicant shall be responsible for operating, maintaining, and managing the facility, and providing for its continued availability and use at reasonable user rates and charges. This responsibility shall be exercised by the applicant even though the facility may be operated, maintained, or managed by a third party under contract or management agreement. Guidance for preparing a management agreement is available from the Agency. Such contracts, management agreements, or leases must not contain options or other provisions for transfer of ownership.

(f) Economic feasibility. All projects financed under the provisions of this section must be based on taxes, assessments, income, fees, or other satisfactory sources of revenues in an amount sufficient to provide for facility operation and maintenance, reasonable reserves, and debt payment. If the primary use of the facility is by business and the success or failure of the facility is dependent on the business, then the economic viability of that business must be assessed.

(g) Federal Debt Collection Act of 1990 (28 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.). An outstanding judgment obtained by the United States in a Federal Court (other than in the United States Tax Court), which has been recorded, shall cause the applicant to be ineligible to receive a loan or grant until the judgment is paid in full or otherwise satisfied.

[62 FR 33478, June 19, 1997, as amended at 64 FR 29946, June 4, 1999]

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§1780.8   [Reserved]

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§1780.9   Eligible loan and grant purposes.

Loan and grant funds may be used only for the following purposes:

(a) To construct, enlarge, extend, or otherwise improve rural water, sanitary sewage, solid waste disposal, and storm wastewater disposal facilities.

(b) To construct or relocate public buildings, roads, bridges, fences, or utilities, and to make other public improvements necessary for the successful operation or protection of facilities authorized in paragraph (a) of this section.

(c) To relocate private buildings, roads, bridges, fences, or utilities, and other private improvements necessary for the successful operation or protection of facilities authorized in paragraph (a) of this section.

(d) For payment of other utility connection charges as provided in service contracts between utility systems.

(e) When a necessary part of the project relates to those facilities authorized in paragraphs (a), (b), (c) or (d) of this section the following may be considered:

(1) Loan or grant funds may be used for:

(i) Reasonable fees and costs such as: legal, engineering, administrative services, fiscal advisory, recording, environmental analyses and surveys, possible salvage or other mitigation measures, planning, establishing or acquiring rights;

(ii) Costs of acquiring interest in land; rights, such as water rights, leases, permits, rights-of-way; and other evidence of land or water control or protection necessary for development of the facility;

(iii) Purchasing or renting equipment necessary to install, operate, maintain, extend, or protect facilities;

(iv) Cost of additional applicant labor and other expenses necessary to install and extend service; and

(v) In unusual cases, the cost for connecting the user to the main service line.

(2) Only loan funds may be used for:

(i) Interest incurred during construction in conjunction with multiple advances or interest on interim financing;

(ii) Initial operating expenses, including interest, for a period ordinarily not exceeding one year when the applicant is unable to pay such expenses;

(iii) The purchase of existing facilities when it is necessary either to improve service or prevent the loss of service;

(iv) Refinancing debts incurred by, or on behalf of, an applicant when all of the following conditions exist:

(A) The debts being refinanced are a secondary part of the total loan;

(B) The debts were incurred for the facility or service being financed or any part thereof; and

(C) Arrangements cannot be made with the creditors to extend or modify the terms of the debts so that a sound basis will exist for making a loan; and

(v) Prepayment of costs for which RUS grant funds were obligated.

(3) Grant funds may be used to restore loan funds used to prepay grant obligated costs.

(f) Construction incurred before loan or grant approval.

(1) Funds may be used to pay obligations for eligible project costs incurred before loan or grant approval if such requests are made in writing by the applicant and the Agency determines that:

(i) Compelling reasons exist for incurring obligations before loan or grant approval;

(ii) The obligations will be incurred for authorized loan or grant purposes; and

(iii) The Agency's authorization to pay such obligations is on the condition that it is not committed to make the loan or grant; it assumes no responsibility for any obligations incurred by the applicant; and the applicant must subsequently meet all loan or grant approval requirements, including environmental and contracting requirements.

(2) If construction is started without Agency approval, post-approval in accordance with this section may be considered, provided the construction meets applicable requirements including those regarding approval and environmental matters.

(g) Water or sewer service may be provided through individual installations or small clusters of users within an applicant's service area. The approval official should consider items such as: quantity and quality of the individual installations that may be developed; cost effectiveness of the individual facility compared with the initial and long term user cost on a central system; health and pollution problems attributable to individual facilities; operational or management problems peculiar to individual installations; and permit and regulatory agency requirements.

(1) Applicants providing service through individual facilities must meet the eligibility requirements in §1780.7.

(2) The Agency must approve the form of agreement between the applicant and individual users for the installation, operation, maintenance and payment for individual facilities.

(3) If taxes or assessments are not pledged as security, applicants providing service through individual facilities must obtain security necessary to assure collection of any sum the individual user is obligated to pay the applicant.

(4) Notes representing indebtedness owed the applicant by a user for an individual facility will be scheduled for payment over a period not to exceed the useful life of the individual facility or the RUS loan, whichever is shorter. The interest rate will not exceed the interest rate charged the applicant on the RUS indebtedness.

(5) Applicants providing service through individual or cluster facilities must obtain:

(i) Easements for the installation and ingress to and egress from the facility if determined necessary by RUS; and

(ii) An adequate method for denying service in the event of nonpayment of user fees.

(h) A borrower is permitted to use up to 10 percent of the amount provided under this part to construct, improve, or acquire broadband infrastructure related to the project financed, subject to the requirements of 7 CFR part 1980, subpart M.

[62 FR 33478, June 19, 1997, as amended at 85 FR 57081, Sept. 15, 2020]

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§1780.10   Limitations.

(a) Loan and grant funds may not be used to finance:

(1) Facilities which are not modest in size, design, and cost;

(2) Loan or grant finder's fees;

(3) The construction of any new combined storm and sanitary sewer facilities;

(4) Any portion of the cost of a facility which does not serve a rural area;

(5) That portion of project costs normally provided by a business or industrial user, such as wastewater pretreatment, etc.;

(6) Rental for the use of equipment or machinery owned by the applicant;

(7) For other purposes not directly related to operating and maintenance of the facility being installed or improved; and

(8) A judgment which would disqualify an applicant for a loan or grant as provided for in §1780.7(g).

(b) Grant funds may not be used to:

(1) Reduce EDU costs to a level less than similar system cost;

(2) Pay any costs of a project when the median household income of the service area is more than 100 percent of the nonmetropolitan median household income of the State;

(3) Pay project costs when other loan funding for the project is not at reasonable rates and terms; and

(4) Pay project costs when other funding is a guaranteed loan obtained in accordance with 7 CFR part 1779 of this title.

(c) Grants may not be made in excess of the following percentages of the RUS eligible project development costs. Facilities previously installed will not be considered in determining the development costs.

(1) 75 percent when the median household income of the service area is below the higher of the poverty line or 80% of the state nonmetropolitan median income and the project is necessary to alleviate a health or sanitary problem.

(2) 45 percent when the median household income of the service area exceeds the 80 percent requirements described in paragraph (c)(1) of this section but is not more than 100 percent of the statewide nonmetropolitan median household income.

(3) Applicants are advised that the percentages contained in paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of this section are maximum amounts and may be further limited due to availability of funds or the grant determination procedures contained in §1780.35 (b).

[62 FR 33478, June 19, 1997, as amended at 64 FR 29946, June 4, 1999; 66 FR 23151, May 8, 2001]

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§1780.11   Service area requirements.

(a) All facilities financed under the provisions of this part shall be for public use. The facilities will be installed so as to serve any potential user within the service area who desires service and can be feasibly and legally served. This does not preclude:

(1) Financing or constructing projects in phases when it is not practical to finance or construct the entire project at one time; and

(2) Financing or constructing facilities where it is not economically feasible to serve the entire area, provided economic feasibility is determined on the basis of the entire system and not by considering the cost of separate extensions to or parts thereof; the applicant publicly announces a plan for extending service to areas not initially receiving service from the system; and potential users located in the areas not to be initially served receive written notice from the applicant that service will not be provided until such time as it is economically feasible to do so.

(b) Should the Agency determine that inequities exist within the applicants service area for the same type service proposed (i.e., water or waste disposal) such inequities will be remedied by the applicant prior to loan or grant approval or included as part of the project. Inequities are defined as unjustified variations in availability, adequacy or quality of service. User rate schedules for portions of existing systems that were developed under different financing, rates, terms or conditions do not necessarily constitute inequities.

(c) Developers are normally expected to provide utility-type facilities in new or developing areas in compliance with appropriate State statutes. RUS financing will be considered to an eligible applicant only in such cases when failure to complete development would result in an adverse economic condition for the rural area (not the community being developed); the proposal is necessary to the success of a current area development plan; and loan repayment can be assured by:

(1) The applicant already having sufficient assured revenues to repay the loan; or

(2) Developers providing a bond or escrowed security deposit as a guarantee sufficient to meet expenses attributable to the area in question until a sufficient number of the building sites are occupied and connected to the facility to provide enough revenues to meet operating, maintenance, debt service, and reserve requirements. Such guarantees from developers will meet the requirements in §1780.39(c)(4)(ii); or

(3) Developers paying cash for the increased capital cost and any increased operating expenses until the developing area will support the increased costs; or

(4) The full faith and credit of a public body where the debt is evidenced by general obligation bonds; or

(5) The loan is to a public body evidenced by a pledge of tax revenue or assessments; or

(6) The user charges can become a lien upon the property being served and income from such lien can be collected in sufficient time to be used for its intended purposes.

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§1780.12   [Reserved]

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§1780.13   Rates and terms.

(a) General. (1) Each loan will bear interest at the rate prescribed in RD Instruction 440.1, exhibit B. The interest rates will be set by the Agency for each quarter of the fiscal year. All rates will be adjusted to the nearest one-eighth of one per centum. The rate will be the lower of the rate in effect at the time of loan approval or the rate in effect at the time of loan closing unless the applicant otherwise chooses.

(2) If the interest rate is to be that in effect at loan closing on a loan involving multiple advances of RUS funds using temporary debt instruments, the interest rate charged shall be that in effect on the date when the first temporary debt instrument is issued.

(3) For a loan for a specific project that has been approved, but not closed on or before May 22, 2008, the rate structure in effect at that time will determine the interest rates. For loans approved on or after May 23, 2008, a percentage of the market rate will be used to determine the poverty and intermediate interest rates.

(b) Poverty rate. The poverty interest rate will not exceed 5 per centum per annum. Loans approved on or after May 23, 2008, will have the poverty interest rate set at 60 percent of the market rate. All poverty rate loans must comply with the following conditions:

(1) The primary purpose of the loan is to upgrade existing facilities or construct new facilities required to meet applicable health or sanitary standards; and

(2) The median household income of the service area is below the higher of the poverty line, or 80 percent of the Statewide nonmetropolitan median household income.

(c) Intermediate rate. The intermediate interest rate will not exceed 7 percent per annum. For a loan for a specific project that has been approved, but not closed on or before May 22, 2008, the intermediate rate is the poverty rate plus one-half of the difference between the poverty rate and the market rate, not to exceed 7 percent per annum. Loans approved on or after May 23, 2008, will have the intermediate interest rate set at 80 percent of the market rate. The intermediate interest rate will apply to loans that do not meet the requirements for the poverty rate and for which the median household income of the service area is not more than 100 percent of the nonmetropolitan median household income of the State.

(d) Market rate. The market interest rate will be set using as guidance the average of the Bond Buyer Index (available in any Agency office or the program's Web site) for the four weeks prior to the first Friday of the last month before the beginning of the quarter. The market rate will apply to all loans that do not qualify for a different rate under paragraph (b) or (c) of this section.

(e) Repayment terms. The loan repayment period shall not exceed the useful life of the facility, State statute or 40 years from the date of the note or bond, whichever is less. Where RUS grant funds are used in connection with an RUS loan, the loan will be for the maximum term permitted by this part, State statute, or the useful life of the facility, whichever is less, unless there is an exceptional case where circumstances justify making an RUS loan for less than the maximum term permitted. In such cases, the reasons must be fully documented.

(1) Principal payments may be deferred in whole or in part for a period not to exceed 36 months following the date the first interest installment is due. If for any reason it appears necessary to permit a longer period of deferment, the Agency may authorize such deferment. Deferments of principal will not be used to:

(i) Postpone the levying of taxes or assessments;

(ii) Delay collection of the full rates which the borrower has agreed to charge users for its services as soon as those services become available;

(iii) Create reserves for normal operation and maintenance;

(iv) Make any capital improvements except those approved by the Agency which are determined to be essential to the repayment of the loan or to maintain adequate security; and

(v) Make payment on other debt.

(2) Payment date. Loan payments will be scheduled to coincide with income availability and be in accordance with State law. If State law only permits principal plus interest (P&I) type bonds, annual or semiannual payments will be used. Insofar as practical monthly payments will be scheduled one full month following the date of loan closing; or semiannual or annual payments will be scheduled six or twelve full months, respectively, following the date of loan closing or any deferment period. Due dates falling on the 29th, 30th or 31st day of the month will be avoided.

(3) In all cases, including those in which RUS is jointly financing with another lender, the RUS payments of principal and interest should approximate amortized installments.

[62 FR 33478, June 19, 1997, as amended at 74 FR 395, Jan. 6, 2009; 82 FR 43671, Sept. 19, 2017]

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§1780.14   Security.

Loans will be secured by the best security position practicable in a manner which will adequately protect the interest of RUS during the repayment period of the loan. Specific security requirements for each loan will be included in a letter of conditions.

(a) Public bodies. Loans to such borrowers, including Federally recognized Indian tribes as appropriate, will be evidenced by notes, bonds, warrants, or other contractual obligations as may be authorized by relevant laws and by borrower's documents, resolutions, and ordinances. Security, in the following order of preference, will consist of:

(1) The full faith and credit of the borrower when the debt is evidenced by general obligation bonds; and/or

(2) Pledges of taxes or assessments; and/or

(3) Pledges of facility revenue and, when it is the customary financial practice in the State, liens will be taken on the interest of the applicant in all land, easements, rights-of-way, water rights, water purchase contracts, water sales contracts, sewage treatment contracts, and similar property rights, including leasehold interests, used or to be used in connection with the facility whether owned at the time the loan is approved or acquired with loan funds.

(b) Other-than-public bodies. Loans to other-than-public body applicants and Federally recognized Indian tribes, as appropriate, will be secured in the following order of preference:

(1) Assignments of borrower income will be taken and perfected by filing, if legally permissible; and

(2) A lien will be taken on the interest of the applicant in all land, easements, rights-of-way, water rights, water purchase contracts, water sales contracts, sewage treatment contracts and similar property rights, including leasehold interest, used, or to be used in connection with the facility whether owned at the time the loan is approved or acquired with loan funds. In unusual circumstances where it is not legally permissible or feasible to obtain a lien on such land (such as land rights obtained from Federal or local government agencies, and from railroads) and the approval official determines that the interest of RUS is otherwise adequately secured, the lien requirement may be omitted as to such land rights. For existing borrowers where the Agency already has a security position on real property, the approval official may determine that the interest of the Government is adequately secured and not require additional liens on such land rights. When the subsequent loan is approved or the acquisition of real property is subject to an outstanding lien indebtedness, the next highest priority lien obtainable will be taken if the approval official determines that the loan is adequately secured.

(c) Joint financing security. For projects utilizing joint financing, when adequate security of more than one type is available, the other lender may take one type of security with RUS taking another type. For projects utilizing joint financing with the same security to be shared by RUS and another lender, RUS will obtain at least a parity position with the other lender. A parity position is to ensure that with joint security, in the event of default, each lender will be affected on a proportionate basis. A parity position will conform with the following unless an exception is granted by the approval official:

(1) It is not necessary for loans to have the same repayment terms. Loans made by other lenders involved in joint financing with RUS should be scheduled for repayment on terms similar to those customarily used in the State for financing such facilities.

(2) The use of a trustee or other similar paying agent by the other lender in a joint financing arrangement is acceptable to RUS. A trustee or other similar paying agent will not normally be used for the RUS portion of the funding unless required to comply with State law. The responsibilities and authorities of any trustee or other similar paying agent on projects that include RUS funds must be clearly specified by written agreement and approved by the State program official and the Office of the General Counsel (OGC). RUS must be able to deal directly with the borrower to enforce the provisions of loan and grant agreements and perform necessary servicing actions.

(3) In the event adequate funds are not available to meet regular installments on parity loans, the funds available will be apportioned to the lenders based on the respective current installments of principal and interest due.

(4) Funds obtained from the sale or liquidation of secured property or fixed assets will be apportioned to the lenders on the basis of the pro rata amount outstanding; provided, however, funds obtained from such sale or liquidation for a project that included RUS grant funds will be apportioned as required by the grant agreement.

(5) Protective advances must be charged to the borrower's account and be secured by a lien on the security property. To the extent consistent with State law and customary lending practices in the area, repayment of protective advances made by either lender, for the mutual protection of both lenders, should receive first priority in apportionment of funds between the lenders. To ensure agreement between lenders, efforts should be made to obtain the concurrence of both lenders before one lender makes a protective advance.

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§1780.15   Other Federal, State, and local requirements.

Proposals for facilities financed in whole or in part with RUS funds will be coordinated with appropriate Federal, State and local agencies. If there are conflicts between this part and State or local laws or regulatory commission regulations, the provisions of this part will control. Applicants will be required to comply with Federal, State, and local laws and any regulatory commission rules and regulations pertaining to:

(a) Organization of the applicant and its authority to own, construct, operate, and maintain the proposed facilities;

(b) Borrowing money, giving security therefore, and raising revenues for the repayment thereof;

(c) Land use zoning; and

(d) Health and sanitation standards and design and installation standards unless an exception is granted by RUS.

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§1780.16   [Reserved]

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§1780.17   Selection priorities and process.

When ranking eligible applications for consideration for limited funds, Agency officials must consider the priority items met by each application and the degree to which those priorities are met. Points will be awarded as follows:

(a) Population priorities. (1) The proposed project will primarily serve a rural area having a population not in excess of 1,000—25 points;

(2) The proposed project primarily serves a rural area having a population between 1,001 and 2,500—15 points;

(3) The proposed project primarily serves a rural area having a population between 2,501 and 5,500—5 points.

(b) Health priorities. The proposed project is:

(1) Needed to alleviate an emergency situation, correct unanticipated diminution or deterioration of a water supply, or to meet Safe Drinking Water Act requirements which pertain to a water system—25 points;

(2) Required to correct inadequacies of a wastewater disposal system, or to meet health standards which pertain to a wastewater disposal system—25 points;

(3) Required to meet administrative orders issued to correct local, State, or Federal solid waste violations—15 points.

(c) Median household income priorities. The median household income of the population to be served by the proposed project is:

(1) Less than the poverty line if the poverty line is less than 80% of the statewide nonmetropolitan median household income—30 points;

(2) Less than 80 percent of the statewide nonmetropolitan median household income—20 points;

(3) Equal to or more than the poverty line and between 80% and 100%, inclusive, of the State's nonmetropolitan median household income—15 points.

(d) Other priorities. (1) The proposed project will: merge ownership, management, and operation of smaller facilities providing for more efficient management and economical service—15 points;

(2) The proposed project will enlarge, extend, or otherwise modify existing facilities to provide service to additional rural areas—10 points;

(3) Applicant is a public body or Indian tribe—5 points;

(4) Amount of other than RUS funds committed to the project is:

(i) 50% or more—15 points;

(ii) 20% to 49%—10 points;

(iii) 5%—19%—5 points;

(5) Projects that will serve Agency identified target areas—10 points;

(6) Projects that primarily recycle solid waste products thereby limiting the need for solid waste disposal—5 points;

(7) The proposed project will serve an area that has an unreliable quality or supply of drinking water—10 points.

(e) In certain cases the State program official may assign up to 15 points to a project. The points may be awarded to projects in order to improve compatibility and coordination between RUS's and other agencies' selection systems, to ensure effective RUS fund utilization, and to assist those projects that are the most cost effective. A written justification must be prepared and placed in the project file each time these points are assigned.

(f) Cost overruns. An application may receive consideration for funding before others at the State or National Office level when it is a subsequent request for a previously approved project which has encountered construction cost overruns. The cost overruns must be due to high bids or unexpected construction problems that cannot be reduced by negotiations, redesign, use of bid alternatives, rebidding or other means. Cost overruns exceeding 20% of the development cost at time of loan or grant approval or where the scope of the original purpose has changed will not be considered under this paragraph.

(g) National office priorities. In selecting projects for funding at the National Office level State program official points may or may not be considered. The Administrator may assign up to 15 additional points to account for items such as geographic distribution of funds, the highest priority projects within a state, and emergency conditions caused by economic problems or natural disasters. The Administrator may delegate the authority to assign the 15 points to appropriate National Office staff.

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§1780.18   Allocation of program funds.

(a) General. (1) The purpose of this part is to set forth the methodology and formulas by which the Administrator of the RUS allocates program funds to the States. (The term “State” means any of the States of the United States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, any territory or possession of the United States, or the Western Pacific Areas.)

(2) The formulas in this part are used to allocate program loan and grant funds to Rural Development State offices so that the overall mission of the Agency can be carried out. Considerations used when developing the formulas include enabling legislation, congressional direction, and administration policies. Allocation formulas ensure that program resources are available on an equal basis to all eligible individuals and organizations.

(3) The actual amounts of funds, as computed by the methodology and formulas contained herein, allocated to a State for a funding period, are distributed to each State office. The allocated amounts are available for review in any Rural Development State office.

(b) Definitions—(1) Amount available for allocations. Funds appropriated or otherwise made available to the Agency for use in authorized programs. On occasion, the allocation of funds to States may not be practical for a particular program due to funding or administrative constraints. In these cases, funds will be controlled by the National Office.

(2) Basic formula criteria, data source and weight. Basic formulas are used to calculate a basic State factor as a part of the methodology for allocating funds to the States. The formulas take a number of criteria that reflect the funding needs for a particular program and through a normalization and weighting process for each of the criteria calculate the basic State factor (SF). The data sources used for each criteria are believed to be the most current and reliable information that adequately quantifies the criterion. The weight, expressed as a percentage, gives a relative value to the importance of each of the criteria.

(3) Basic formula allocation. The result of multiplying the amount available for allocation less the total of any amounts held in reserve or distributed by base or administrative allocation times the basic State factor for each State. The basic formula allocation (BFA) for an individual State is equal to:

BFA = (Amount available for allocation − NO reserve − total base and administrative allocations) × SF.

(4) Transition formula. (i) A formula based on a proportional amount of previous year allocation used to maintain program continuity by preventing large fluctuations in individual State allocations. The transition formula limits allocation shifts to any particular State in the event of changes from year to year of the basic formula, the basic criteria, or the weights given the criteria. The transition formula first checks whether the current year's basic formula allocation is within the transition range (plus or minus 20 percentage points of the proportional amount of the previous year's BFA). The formula follows:

eCFR graphic er19jn97.000.gif

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(ii) If the current year's State BFA is not within the transition range in paragraph (b)(4)(i) of this section, the State formula allocation is changed to the amount of the transition range limit closest to the BFA amount. After having performed this transition adjustment for each State, the sum of the funds allocated to all States will differ from the amount of funds available for BFA. This difference, whether a positive or negative amount, is distributed to all States receiving a formula allocation by multiplying the difference by the SF. The end result is the transition formula allocation. The transition range will not exceed 40% (plus or minus 20%), but when a smaller range is used it will be stated in the individual program section.

(5) Base allocation. An amount that may be allocated to each State dependent upon the particular program to provide the opportunity for funding at least one typical loan or grant in each Rural Development State office. The amount of the base allocation may be determined by criteria other than that used in the basic formula allocation such as Agency historic data.

(6) Administrative allocations. Allocations made by the Administrator in cases where basic formula criteria information is not available. This form of allocation may be used when the Administrator determines the program objectives cannot be adequately met with a formula allocation.

(7) Reserve. An amount retained under the National Office control for each loan and grant program to provide flexibility in meeting situations of unexpected or justifiable need occurring during the fiscal year. The Administrator may make distributions from this reserve to any State when it is determined necessary to meet a program need or Agency objective. The Administrator may retain additional amounts to fund authorized demonstration programs.

(8) Pooling of funds. A technique used to ensure that available funds are used in an effective, timely and efficient manner. At the time of pooling those funds within a State's allocation for the fiscal year or portion of the fiscal year, depending on the type of pooling, that have not been obligated by the State are placed in the National Office reserve. The Administrator will establish the pooling dates for each affected program.

(i) Mid-year: Mid-year pooling occurs near the midpoint of the fiscal year.

(ii) Year-end: Year-end pooling usually occurs near the first of August.

(iii) Emergency: The Administrator may pool funds at any time that it is determined the conditions upon the initial allocation was based have changed to such a degree that it is necessary to pool funds in order to efficiently carry out the Agency mission.

(9) Availability of the allocation. Program funds are made available to the Agency on a quarterly basis.

(10) Suballocation by the Rural Development State Director. The State Director may be directed or given the option of suballocating the State allocation to processing offices. When suballocating the State Director may retain a portion of the funds in a State office reserve to provide flexibility in situations of unexpected or justified need. When performing a suballocation the State Director will use the same formula, criteria and weights as used by the National Office.

(c) Water and waste disposal loans and grants—(1) Amount available for allocations. See paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(2) Basic formula criteria, data source and weight. See paragraph (b)(2) of this section.

(i) The criteria used in the basic formula are:

(A) State's percentage of national rural population will be 50 percent.

(B) State's percentage of national rural population with incomes below the poverty level will be 25 percent.

(C) State's percentage of national nonmetropolitan unemployment will be 25 percent.

(ii) The data sources for each criterion identified in paragraph (c)(2) of this section are specified in paragraphs (c)(2)(ii)(A) through (C) of this section. Each criterion is assigned a specific weight according to its relevance in determining need. The percentage representing each criterion is multiplied by the weight factor and summed to arrive at a State factor (SF). The SF cannot exceed 0.05, as follows:

SF = (criterion in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A) of this section × 50 percent) + (criterion in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(B) × 25 percent) + (criterion in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(C) of this section × 25 percent)

(A) For the criterion specified in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(A) of this section, the most recent decennial Census data.

(B) For the criterion specified in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(B) of this section, 5-year income data from the American Community Survey (ACS) or, if needed, other Census Bureau data.

(C) For the criterion specified in paragraph (b)(2)(i)(C) of this section, the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

(3) Basic formula allocation. See paragraph (b)(3) of this section. States receiving administrative allocations do not receive formula allocations.

(4) Transition formula. See paragraph (b)(4) of this section. The percentage range for the transition formula equals 30 percent (plus or minus 15%).

(5) Base allocation. See paragraph (b)(5) of this section. States receiving administrative allocations do not receive base allocations.

(6) Administrative allocation. See paragraph (b)(6) of this section. States participating in the formula and base allocation procedures do not receive administrative allocations.

(7) Reserve. See paragraph (b)(7) of this section. Any State may request reserve funds by forwarding a request to the National Office. Generally, a request for additional funds will not be honored unless the State has insufficient funds to obligate the loan requested.

(8) Pooling of funds. See paragraph (b)(8) of this section. Funds are generally pooled at mid-year and year-end. Pooled funds will be placed in the National Office reserve and will be made available administratively.

(9) Availability of the allocation. See paragraph (b)(9) of this section. The allocation of funds is made available for States to obligate on an annual basis although the Office of Management and Budget apportions it to the Agency on a quarterly basis.

(10) Suballocation by the State Director. See paragraph (b)(10) of this section. The State Director has the option to suballocate funds to processing offices.

[62 FR 33478, June 19, 1997, as amended at 80 FR 9863, Feb. 24, 2015]

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§1780.19   Public information.

(a) Public notice of intent to file an application with the Agency. Within 60 days of filing an application with the Agency the applicant must publish a notice of intent to apply for a RUS loan or grant. The notice of intent must be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the proposed area to be served.

(b) General public meeting. Applicants should inform the general public regarding the development of any proposed project. Any applicant not required to obtain authorization by vote of its membership or by public referendum, to incur the obligations of the proposed loan or grant, must hold at least one public information meeting. The public meeting must be held not later than loan or grant approval. The meeting must give the citizenry an opportunity to become acquainted with the proposed project and to comment on such items as economic and environmental impacts, service area, alternatives to the project, or any other issue identified by Agency. To the extent possible, this meeting should cover items necessary to satisfy all public information meeting requirements for the proposed project. To minimize duplication of public notices and public involvement, the applicant shall, where possible, coordinate and integrate the public involvement activities of the environmental review process into this requirement. The applicant will be required, at least 10 days prior to the meeting, to publish a notice of the meeting in a newspaper of general circulation in the service area, to post a public notice at the applicant's principal office, and to notify the Agency. The applicant will provide the Agency a copy of the published notice and minutes of the public meeting. A public meeting is not normally required for subsequent loans or grants which are needed to complete the financing of a project.

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§§1780.20-1780.23   [Reserved]

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§1780.24   Approval authorities.

Appropriate reviews, concurrence, and authorization must be obtained for all loans or grants in excess of the amounts indicated in RUS Staff Instruction 1780-1.

(a) Redelegation of authority by State Directors. Unless restricted by memorandum from the RUS Administrator, State Directors can redelegate their approval authorities to State employees by memorandum.

(b) Restriction of approval authority by the RUS Administrator. The RUS Administrator can make written restrictions or revocations of the authority given to any approval official.

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§1780.25   Exception authority.

The Administrator may, in individual cases, make an exception to any requirement or provision of this part which is not inconsistent with the authorizing statute or other applicable law and is determined to be in the Government's interest.

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§§1780.26-1780.30   [Reserved]

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